Group meets Shah, nadda; Sawant non-committal on reshuffle date to accommodate Cong rebels
the goan I network
A day after Wednesday’s political storm in which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) scooped 10 of the 15 MLAs from its main rival Congress, the group of 10 new entrants got a formal reception at the saffron party’s sprawling headquarters in the national capital Delhi.
BJP’s national working president, JP Nadda met the 10 MLAs who were accompanied by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant but the group was unable to get an audience with Union Home Minister and the party’s national president Amit Shah due to his busy schedule in Parliament.
Former Opposition Leader Chandrakant (Babu) Kavlekar led the group of 10 MLAs which also formally filled BJP membership forms at the plush headquarters in Delhi.
They 10 MLAs had merged with the BJP following fast paced political developments on Wednesday in which they claimed to have first split from the Congress and simultaneously merged into the BJP by formally submitting letters to the Goa Speaker Rajesh Patnekar. The merger was also formally recognised by Patnekar.
Sawant who is in Delhi meanwhile is non-committal on when he will reshuffle the cabinet to accommodate the Congress rebels who merged with the BJP on Wednesday.
Although there is no official confirmation either from him or the office of whether there will be a cabinet expansion at all, political sources have indicated that at least three of the 10 new entrants, including Kavlekar and Atanasio Monserrate are expected to be sworn in ministers. Filipe Neri Rodrigues is tipped to bag the third cabinet berth.
Sawant, as he indicated weeks earlier, could also resort to inducting Deputy
Speaker Michael Lobo. Also waiting in the wings is Shiroda MLA Subhash Shirodkar who is the only BJP MLA who is yet to be accommodated, the sources said.
As reported earlier, Sawant is expected to drop cabinet ministers of ally Goa Forward Party and the supporting independents, although Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude could possibly retain his post owing to his contribution to the saffron party’s Lok Sabha and by-poll campaign.
Meanwhile, the monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly which is slated to commence on July 15 (Monday) is certain to be impacted by the political developments of Wednesday.
For starters, the Opposition Leader’s seat will be vacant as the incumbent, Kavlekar has crossed floors and is expected to already become a minister when the session begins.
Also, Speaker Rajesh Patnekar on Thursday said LAQs submitted by legislators who may now be sworn in as ministers will be discarded.
In the wee hours of Thursday, hours after the 10-member group of Congress MLAs split and merged with the BJP, they headed for Delhi in the company of Sawant, ostensibly to meet Shah. The meeting with the latter could not take place the whole of Thursday due to his busy schedule with Parliament in session.
Sawant and the 10 MLAs eventually met Shah late on Thursday night and are now slated to fly back to Goa on Friday morning. As of now, it is uncertain whether there will be any swearing-in ceremony on Friday as Sawant is scheduled to attend a high-level meeting on the vexatious Goa mining imbroglio which will be chaired by Shah in Delhi at 4 pm.
Union Minister for Mines Pralhad Joshi and Goa’s Advocate General Devidas Pangam will also attend the meeting, an official government release said.